07/27/2004 11:00PM

On way out, Iwinski wants to win

"It would be a beautiful thing. I've been a trainer for a lot of years, and I never have won a Grade 1." - Trainer Allen Iwinski

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - By next summer, trainer Allen Iwinski will be out of Thoroughbred racing, putting all his focus on recovering from the potentially fatal disease hepatitis C. Iwinski plans eventually to return to the game, but there are no guarantees.

For now, however, Iwinski is concentrating on still trying to win races while downsizing and eventually dispersing his entire stable. Saturday, Iwinski will try to win the biggest race of his career when he saddles Humor Me Molly in the Grade 1, $250,000 Test Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at Saratoga.

Iwinski has won more than 1,500 races and several stakes in a career that began at Detroit Race Course in Michigan in 1975.

"It would be a beautiful thing. I've been a trainer for a lot of years and I never have won a Grade 1,'' Iwinski said. "My main goal and focus is for me to downsize and unwind the way I came into the game; the first horse I trained won, the first horse I owned won. I want to go out a winner, too. I don't want to leave on a downhill note.''

Iwinski, 52, is in the middle of one of his best years. Through July 26, he ranked as the 24th leading trainer in races won (71), and his horses have earned $1,954,826 in purse money. All this while he has downsized his stable from

100 horses to about 75. Currently, he has horses stabled at Delaware Park, Monmouth Park, Aqueduct, and Saratoga.

Hepatitis C is a viral disease that can lead to permanent, and in some cases fatal, liver

damage. Several years ago, Iwinski underwent treatment for the disease, but kept working, and it came back.

"I trained half the time out of my bed,'' Iwinski said. "It was just like torture, all the drugs they give you to build your immune system, and in this business you're so stressed out constantly that you're not doing yourself any good, and I got it back. I decided I'm going to go through this stress-free the next time.''

Iwinski, who lives in Delaware, said he and his wife, Teri Jovia-Smith, will relocate to Ocala, Fla., where Iwinski will undergo treatment beginning next summer. Iwinski said his doctors have not yet prescribed a course of action to attack the disease, which often leaves Iwinski fatigued.

"I'm tired all the time,'' Iwinski said. "I go two weeks at a time, three weeks at time, before I sleep in one morning. When I get an opportunity to do that I sleep for 10 hours, I get up, have breakfast, call my barns up and check with everybody, and then I go back to sleep.''

Though he began his career in Detroit, Iwinski came into prominence in the mid-Atlantic region, where he has won multiple training titles at Philadelphia Park and Delaware Park. He is regarded as a sharp claiming trainer, who has developed several stakes winners, including the multiple graded winner Blushing Julian.

Despite her 4-for-5 record and the presence of John Velazquez in the saddle, Humor Me Molly will probably be a longshot in the Test, run at seven furlongs. Stan Stefanski purchased Humor Me Molly, a daughter of Distorted Humor, as a weanling for $11,000 with the intention of reselling her. Humor Me Molly didn't sell, Iwinski deduced, because she was on the small side.

Humor Me Molly debuted in a maiden $32,000 claiming race at Gulfstream Park, where she got jostled at the break and rallied to just miss by a half-length. Humor Me Molly then won a $75,000 maiden claimer by six lengths before taking allowance races at Gulfstream and Delaware Park. She showed a new dimension, rallying from well off the pace to win the Beautiful Day Stakes at Delaware in her most recent start.

"She's doing some kind of good, she's ready, she loves it here, she's been training just tremendous,'' Iwinski said. "I'm confident our filly is in top condition going into the race; on top of her game. Now, am I confident that she's good enough to beat those horses? They always have to prove it to me.''